Monday, September 29, 2008

Lukewarm and Indifferent. God Replaced with Passion and Concern

Exercise Challenge

Moms of Many Exercise Challenge

I'm seeing some progress!  I lost another half pound this week.  I can live with that.  ;-)  I've mostly cut out sugar.  Not totally, though.  I eat maple syrup on my pancakes, but no desserts until Monday.  Darin is doing the same thing and we've noticed that on Friday nights we hanker hard for some sort of sweet.  What is it about Friday nights that makes us want to eat brownies and ice cream???  I guess it's that whole "it's the weekend thing."  Remember Loverboy?  "Everybody's workin' for the weekend!"  LoL  Ain't it the truth.

I'm getting in a bit more exercise that I have been.....I've started taking Henry and Sophia (and anyone else that wants to tag along)on a walk every morning since it has cooled down a bit.  They love it.  Sophia starts kicking her legs when we start walking out the door.  She's SO precious.  Henry is so full of energy, he runs most of the time so I can get a pretty good clip going.  Otherwise, I'm doing the same ol', same ol'.

I hope you guys are getting some exercise into your days!  Sign-in with Mr. Linky if you have an update and leave a comment so I'll know you were here.  :-)

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my Window...
temperatures in the high 80’s, and here it is, just two days away from October.  One of the guys who was working on our leak last week told Darin that according to the Farmer’s Almanac, this winter will be the coldest ever.  That seems strange to imagine at this point. 

Well, I couldn’t resist.  I surfed on over to the Farmer’s Almanac site to see what I could find and found this:
As homeowners across the country pray for a mild winter to offset rising energy costs, the world-famous Farmers’ Almanac is warning us to prepare for the worst. “Numb’s the word!” is how the 192-year-old publication is predicting the upcoming winter season.
Go HERE to read more.

I am thinking...that I miss Darin when he has to go to work.

From the learning rooms...Ancient Egypt, Apologia Zoology II, Teaching Textbooks, Sonlight L.A., lapbooking, history pockets.

I am thankful for...the work that God has given me.  My job as a homeschooling Mom is NEVER boring or tedious.  There is never enough hours to fit in all I want to do here at home.  I love it.

From the kitchen...Pumpkin Patch cake for tea this afternoon.  We made this cake four or five times last year for other people because it’s so good and the kids love to make it.  I hope the link works so you can see it and get the recipe!  Let me know if it doesn’t and you want it.

I am reading...WORLD mag, St. Bartholomew’s Eve by Henty with Darin, Ishmael with Ben, The Trojan War with Jack, and various books about cars, planes, trains and trucks with Henry.

I am hoping...that I can keep my cool this week and not let all there is to do become overwhelming.  I want to enjoy every minute – not wig out.  ;-)

I am creating...organization in my bedroom.  Sophia has been sharing our room with us since she was born so there has been little cleaning going on in there since she still takes two naps and goes to bed pretty early.  When she is awake, we’re usually doing one of a million other things we have to do.  This weekend I begged Darin for us to team up and get some deep cleaning done in there.  We had a treadmill that no longer worked in there, and a lot of dust bunnies.  We got about half the room cleaned.  I’ll have to bide my time for next weekend, or try to squeeze in some time for it during the week.

I am hearing...Henry being frustrated.  He's trying to put on a necklace, but can't seem to get it around his neck.  Darin is offering to help him.

Around the house...working on knitting more dishrags, and I badly need to catch-up on ironing.

One of my favorite things...I love to can fruits and veges.  I haven’t had the chance to do any canning for the last few years, but I’m looking forward to a spring garden.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...hoping to meet with some friends at a local lake this week so the kids can throw rocks and get muddy, update our hymn books that we use for Bible Study.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
A fistful of Cheerios.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Award

i_love_your_blog_award.jpg picture by rhubarbcrumbleSandpiper over at Journey Through Motherhood gave me this nice award.  So nice!  Thank you! 

You guys go visit Sandpiper.  She is literally DAYS from giving birth to Baby #6, just celebrated her 14th wedding anniversary, and her 2nd blogoversary!  :-)

I get to pass this award on to some of my favorite bloggers.  Here they are:

Sherry at Large Family Mothering is a true Titus 2 woman.  Her blog posts always - ALWAYS encourage me as a wife and mother.  She's always right on the mark.  She posted some tips (I can't find that post now!) and I'm excited to use one of her tips this winter with our 9 month old.  Ya know how socks always fall off our babies' feet?  She says use tights instead!  So simple, I would have never thought of it on my own.  ;-)

De'Etta at Choosing Joy.  First of all, I like the title of her blog.  Isn't it true that we do have to CHOOSE to be joyful through so many things?  Secondly, I love her "slice of life" entries.  Maybe I'm just nosy, but I like to read about what's going on at her house.  Lastly, she's my exercising hero.  She usually gets in 60 minutes at least 5 days a week.  You go, girl.  ;-)

Kelli at There is No Place Like Home.  I love to go look at all the kewl crafty things she makes, the good food she cooks and the nifty way she decorates her home.  I don't have time to do all the fun things she does, but I like to go look anyway.  And I agree....there IS no place like home.

Mayst Thou Live to Know and Fear Him

Lydia and I are making our way through the Elsie Dinsmore series.  I am just as encouraged - if not more! - than Lydia is by these books.  Here's an excerpt that I love from Elsie's Children.

"Dear me, Elsie, how can you take so much trouble with your children?" she said, "You seem to be always training and teaching them in the sweetest, gentlest way; and of course they're good and obedient.  I'm sure I love mine dearly, but I could never have the patience to do all you do."

"My dear friend, how can I do less, when so much of their future welfare, for time and for eternity, depends upon my faithfulness?"

"Yes," said Lucy slowly, "but the mystery to me is, how you can keep that in mind all the time, and how you can contrive always to do the right thing?"

"I wish I did, but it is not so; I make many mistakes."

"I don't see it.  You do wonderfully well anyhow, and I want to know how you manage it."

"I devote most of my time and thoughts to it; I try to study the character of each child, and above all, I pray a great deal for wisdom and for God's blessing on my efforts; not always on my knees, for it is a blessed truth, that we may lift our heart to him at any time and in any place.  Oh, Lucy," she exclaimed with tearful earnestness, "if I can but train my children for God and heaven, what a happy woman shall I be!  The longing desire of my heart for them is that expressed in the stanza of Watts's Crade Hymn:
'Mayst thou live to know and fear Him,
  Trust and love Him all thy days,
Then go dwell forever near Him,
  See His face and sing His praise!' "

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blogger Friend School - #103

Assignment: How do you keep energized so you can get it all done? bouncy music? treat it like a workout? Do you use a schedule?, a housekeeping binder system? luck of the draw system?.. or is this an area where you need encouragement? Do you need God’s help to keep order and beauty in your dwelling place? Take this week to tell us how You diligently keep going with your housekeeping chores.

I am a fairly new mother of five children.  I told a pal the other day that I was still trying to get into a groove with it.  My youngest is 9 months old.  Motherhood makes us holy, right?  Yup.  And it's also very humbling.  I am one of those Born Organized Gals.  I love multi-tasking and everything in its place.  A clean house really contributes to my sanity.  But I've had to call "uncle" at this point in my life because I just can't keep up with everything and it's hard to take.  But I've got an 8th grader, 5th grader, 3rd grader, a 2 year old who is already pressuring me for school (I've been gathering lapbooking stuff for him to do and that kid eats it up!) and that Very Squishable 9 Month Old I've already mentioned. 

This afternoon, the oldest three were out in the backyard pelting each other with acorns and I thought, "I can dust the living room!"  Not!  :-)  Enter that 2 year old, wanting to do "my schoolwork."  As an aside....I spent a good 4 1/2 years as a homeschool support group leader rolling my eyes at ladies who were trying to homeschool their kids at 3.  Really, I still think 2 and 3 is too young to be stressing over "school" but this kid begs for it, and he loves it, and I'm keeping it simple with lapbooks.  SOOOO......I got to dust the living room a little bit, but Henry and I got a lot of coloring done on his blue, red and green car for his transportation lapbook.  We also counted a lot of wheels.  A lot. 

It goes like that for me every day.  Just when I think I'm about to have a sec to fold some laundry, or clean the kitchen floor, something comes up.  Not that our house is completely crunchy.  The thing that saves us is chores.  The three oldest really contribute quite a bit to the cleanliness of our home.  They really are a blessing to me!  And I do set aside time in the morning to complete at least one self-assigned chore before we start with the official business of schoolwork. 

It's difficult.  I'd like everyone to think that I run a tight ship with a perfectly clean house.  It's hard when my neighbors stop in for a chat and the house looks like a tornado swept through leaving all the piles on my desk intact.  ;-)  Very, very humbling.  I have to remind myself that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.  Spending time teaching my kids, hanging out with them, developing a relationship....that's my goal.  The clean house will come later - I think?  ;-)

Here's Henry hacking away on a piece of paper.  He could sit and do that all day...

But that picture is to stall the uploading of the other pictures.  Here are my laundry piles that I get to once or twice a week.  Here's the pile in the corner of the living room.

The corner of my bedroom....

And here's the lovely laundry room.

A verse that comforts me when I think about all that I am not getting done is Isaiah 40:11.  "....He gently leads those that have young."  I read on a blog a couple of weeks ago this sentence: "The Lord is being merciful to me."  That one sentence hit my heart hard.  And every day since then, God has recalled that to my memory, and I've been able to look around and see His mercy towards me.  I may not be able to keep up with life the way *I* prefer, but God's way has been much better - especially on those days when I give in to His way, rather than fight it.

To view other Blogger Friend School entries, go HERE.  :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Exercise Challenge

Moms of Many Exercise Challenge

I've held on to my 2 1/2 pound loss, but have not gone any further.  S'okay.  :-)  Darin just started a weight loss challenge with a friend at work, so eating better just got that much easier. 

Still with not enough hours in the day to exercise a full hour, but I get in at least 30 minutes.  My goal is to get in those 30 minutes every day.  Right now I'm only getting in 3 or 4 days each week.  This week I'm going to add another day.  It's difficult because it seems there's always papers to correct, papers to file, school schedules to make, laundry to fold, & etc.  I go in spurts with being happy just doing what I can, and spurts where I totally freak out that our house is crunchier than I'd like.  ;-)

If you have an exercise update to share, sign in with Mr. Linky and leave a comment so I'll know you were here!

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my Window...for the last little bit the weather has lulled us into a false sense of fall around here.  The highs were in the low 80’s……heaven!  But now we’re back up to nearly 90, and it makes a difference!  We WANT Fall!  We MUST HAVE Fall!  ;-)

I am thinking...that today is a wacky day already.  Ben and Jack were going to go to work with Darin this morning.  There is an annual Flag Football game between departments every year and Darin likes to take the boys along.  This is Jack's first year to go.  Ben has been every year, and last year, got to play!  But our hot water pipe started leaking again on Friday night.  We called the plumber Saturday morning and he told us he might not be able to get to us until the end of the week.  We think the leak is not just a leak, but a weld that didn't quite take because the water is POURING out of the repaired spot.  The plumber-guy must have chewed on that quite a bit over the weekend because they showed up first thing this morning (thank you, God!).  But now the boys are all out of whack.  Since they're here, we're trying to get them to do their chores, but their minds are only on that football game and hanging out with Dad at work.  The house is a mess from the weekend, Sophia went down for her nap late because of the jackhammer in the garage, Henry is still running around in his jammies, Lydia is playing in her room rather than cleaning it....sigh.  We'll make it through.  ;-)

From the learning rooms...I'm going to try to follow our normal routine for school and such since the boys will still be here.  (Darin likes to be here when work is being done on the house.)  Hopefully I will be able to impose my will on these kids this morning.  LoL  It's definitely going to be a struggle!

I am thankful for...God, who constantly provides.  I don’t think I can ever be thankful enough.

From the kitchen...plastic ware and paper plates!  We're trying to create as few dirty dishes to wash as possible since we have turned off the hot water because of the leak. 

When my mom loads her dishwasher she always thanks God for it.  She was born in the 30's and didn't have a dishwasher until the late 70's.  There were six kids in our family, and she made everything from scratch.  This a woman who knows what it means to have to wash the dishes.  I feel like a big wimp with the plasticware compared to her, but well, it is what it is, I guess.  ;-)

I am reading...St. Bartholomew’s Eve by Henty with Darin, Ishmael with Ben, Elsie’s Children with Lydia and The Trojan War with Jack.  

I am hoping...that Darin doesn't have a heart attack before the day is out.  ;-)  He just came in from the garage and reported that it looks as if the leak is a new leak so we will have to pay for this repair.  Another 1000 bucks gone.  

I am creating...a way to control some of the clutter.  Darin and I bought some new bookshelves at the unfinished furniture store this weekend.  I can’t wait to get them stained and ready to go because I’ve got some piles that are ready to be transferred to the shelves.

I am hearing...Ben is practicing his piano and Henry is measuring Darin's arm with the tape measure.  He says it is "2 foots."

Around the house...always laundry, always a dirty bathroom (or two or three!) to clean.

One of my favorite finishing something.  I never realized the deep-seated need I have to go from start to finish with a task until I had five children.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...I’m on a quest to find some lapbooking stuff for my toddler boy, Henry.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

To view other Daybook entries go HERE.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blogger Friend School - #102

Assignment: This week I want you to do something for someone else. Do you have a neighbor that needs you? Do you know an elderly person or single mom that could use you? What about the homeless? Pack even one single sack lunch and give it to someone in need. Do you know someone in blogland that is struggling right now and could use a note from you about how much you care? Pray about this. Let God put on your heart the perfect thing for you to do for another. Now, here is the kicker…I DO NOT want you to post about what you do. Whatever you choose to do is between you and God. Our rewards are in heaven, not here on earth, Mathew 6:1. I want you to post about how doing this “act” made you feel. Was stepping out of your comfort zone in this area as hard as you thought it might be? Could you see the gratefulness in their eyes? Hear it in their voice? Tell it from their typing? Do you think you might make doing things like this a more regular part of your time?  If this is an area that you are already active in, tell us how you feel this has impacted your life.

If we do it right, life - REAL life, lived to the fullest, should constantly bring us out of our comfort zones.  :-)  Here's a wonderful example of that from one of my favorite books, Stepping Heavenward.

I went down into the kitchen, put on my large baking apron, and began my labors; of course the doorbell rang, and a poor woman was announced.  It is very sweet to follow Fenelon’s counsel and give oneself to Christ in all these interruptions; but this time I said, “oh, dear!” before I thought.  Then I wished I hadn’t, and went up, with a cheerful face at any rate, to my unwelcome visitor, who proved to be one of my aggravating poor folks – a great giant of a woman, in perfect health, and with a husband to support her if he will.  I told her that I could do no more for her; she answered me rudely, and kept urging her claims.  I felt ruffled; why should my time be thus frittered away, I asked myself.  At last she went off, abusing me in a way that chilled my heart.  I could only beg God to forgive her, and return to my work, which I had hardly resumed when Mrs. Embury sent for a pattern I had promised to lend her.  Off came my apron, and up two pairs of stairs I ran; after a long search it came to light.  Work resumed; doorbell again.  Aunty wanted the children to come to an early dinner.  Going to Aunty’s is next to going to Paradise to them.  Every thing was now hurry and flurry; I tried to be patient; and not to fret their temper by undue attention to nails, ears, and other susceptible parts of the human frame, but after it was all over, and I had kissed all the sweet, dear faces good-by, and returned to the kitchen, I felt sure that I h ad not been the perfect mother I want to be in all these little emergencies – yes, far from it.  Bridget had let the milk I was going to use boil over, and finally burn up.  I was annoyed and irritated, and already tired and did not see how I was to get more, as Mary was cleaning the silver, and had other extra Saturday work to do.  I thought Bridget might offer to run to the corner for it, though it isn’t her business, but she is not obliging, and seemed as sulky as if I had burned the milk, not she.  “After all,” I said to myself, “what does it signify, if Ernest gets no dessert?  It isn’t good for him, and how much precious time is wasted over just this one thing?”  However, I reflected, that arbitrarily refusing to indulge him in this respect is not exactly my mission as his wife; he is perfectly well, and likes his little luxuries as well as other people do.  So I humbled my pride and asked Bridget to go for the milk, which she did, in a lofty way of her own.  While she was gone the marketing came home, and I had everything to dispose of.  Ernest had sent home some apples, which plainly said, “I want some apple pie, Katy.”  I looked nervously at the clock, and undertook to gratify him.  Mary came down, crying, to say that her mother, who lived in Brooklyn, was very sick; could she go to see her?  I looked at the clock once more; told her she should go, of course, as soon as lunch was over; this involved my doing all her absence left undone.

At last I got through with the kitchen the Sunday dinner being well under way, and ran upstairs to put away the host of little garments the children had left when they took their flight, and to make myself presentable at lunch.  Then I began to be uneasy lest Earnest should not be punctual, and Mary be delayed; but he came just as the clock struck one.  I ran joyfully to meet him, very glad now that I had something good to give him.  We had just got through lunch, and I was opening my mouth to tell Mary she might go, when the doorbell range once more, and Mrs. Fry, of Jersey City, was announced.  I told Mary to wait till I found whether she had lunched or not; no, she hadn’t; had come to town to see friends off, was half famished, and would I do her the favor, etc., etc.  She had a fashionable young lady with her, a stranger to me, as well as a Miss Somebody else, from Albany, whose name I did not catch.  I apologized for having finished lunch.  Mrs. Fry said all they wanted was a cup of tea and a bit of bread and butter, nothing else, dear, now don’t put yourself out.

“Now be bright and animated, and like yourself,” she whispered, “for I have brought these girls here on purpose to hear you talk, and they are prepared to fall in love with you on the spot.”

This speech sufficed to shut my mouth.

Mary had to get ready for these unexpected guests, whose appetites proved equal to a raid on a good many things besides bread and butter.  Mrs. Fry said, after she had devoured nearly half a loaf of cake, that she would really try to eat a morsel more, which Ernest remarked, dryly, was a great triumph of mind over matter.  As they talked and laughed and ate leisurely on, Mary stood looking the picture of despair. At last I gave her a glance that said she might go, when a new visitor was announced – Mrs. Winthrop, from Brooklyn, one of Ernest’s patients a few years ago, when she lived here.  She professed herself greatly indebted to him, and said she had come at this hour because she should make sure of seeing him.  I tried to rescue him, as I knew he would be thankful to have me do, but no, see him she must; he was her “pet doctor,” he had such “sweet, bedside manners,” and “I am such a favorite with him, you know!”

Ernest did not receive his “favorite” with any special warmth; but invited her out to lunch and gallanted her to the table we had just left.  Just like a man!  Poor Mary!  She had to fly round and get up what she could; Mrs. Winthrop devoted herself to Ernest with a persistent ignoring of me that I thought rude and unwomanly.  She asked if he had read a certain book; he had not; she then said, “I need not ask, then if Mrs. Elliott has done so?  These charming dishes, which she gets up so nicely, must absorb all her time.”  “Of course,” replied Ernest.  “But she contrives to read the reports of all the murders, of which the newspapers are full.”

Mrs. Winthrop took this speech literally, drew away her skirts from me, looked at me through her eye-glass, and said, “Yes?”  At last she departed.  Helen came home, and Mary went.  I gave Helen an account of my morning; she laughed heartily, and it did me good to hear that musical sound once more.

“It is nearly five o’clock,” I said, as we at last had restored everything to order, “and this whole day has been frittered away in the veriest trifles.  It isn’t living to live so.  Who is better for my being in the world since six o’clock this morning?”

“I am for one,” she said, kissing my hot cheeks; “and you have given a great deal of pleasure to several persons.  Your and Ernest’s hospitality is always graceful.  I admire it in you both; and this is one of the little ways, not to be despised, of giving enjoyment.”  It was nice in her to say that, it quite rested me.

At the dinner table Ernest complimented me on my good housekeeping.

“I was proud of my little wife at lunch,” he said.

“And yet you said that outrageous thing about my reading about nothing but murders!” I said.

“Oh, well, you understood it,” he said, laughingly.

“But that dreadful Mrs. Winthrop took it literally.”

“What do we care for Mrs. Winthrop?” he returned.  “If you could have seen the contrast between you two in my eyes!”

After all, one must take life as it comes, its homely details are so mixed up with its sweet charities, and loves, and friendships that one is forced to believe that God has joined them together and does not will that they should be put asunder.  It is something that my husband has been satisfied with his wife and his home today, that does me good.

Visit other Blogger Friend School entries HERE.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Exercise Challenge

Moms of Many Exercise Challenge

I lost 2 1/2 pounds!  But I don't think it was because of the exercise.  Well, I'm sure it didn't hurt anything, but you know I've started the no-sugar thingy a couple of weeks ago.  I got real serious about it last week ;-) and so this is the first week I've lost any weight.  Woohoo!  And I get to celebrate today with a piece of cake.  HA!  I have left Monday as a "sugar day."  The kids and I have tea on Mondays and Darin and I also have a date night on Monday.  We like to indulge in a little Marble Slab - such creatures of habit.

So....yay.  Still trying to keep up a daily walk with either Leslie Sansone, or outside with Darin after he kids have gone to bed.  It's not the hour I need to help with the weight loss, but it's movement.  I agree with you Sally, it would be nice to lose weight from the exercise, but at this point, the important thing is that we're doing SOMETHING.  :-)

I hope you all had successful weeks last week!  Sign-in with Mr. Linky and let us know how you're doing!

The Simple Woman's Daybook, Day 3

For Today...

Outside my not what I was expecting for today!  Ike  made a detour when he landed at Houston and we did not get the Tropical Storm we were told we would get.  Saturday ended up being just an ordinary day with some sprinkly rain and a little bit of wind.  Makes me extra grateful after I’ve seen pictures of Galveston and Houston.

I am thinking...that I can’t wait till we do History today!  We are in the middle of Egypt.  I bought the Egypt History Pocket and can’t wait to start going through it and assembling everything with the kids.  We are also reading Pyramid by David Macaulay.  We are all huge history fans around here.

From the learning rooms...Oh.  Well, I guess I already took care of this one.;-) 

Well, I can always add more!  Henry and I are about to finish up our first BFIAR book…..Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?   He is only 2 ½ but his little brain is constantly going, going, going and he needed something to do while Ben, Lydia and Jack are doing their work.  It’s funny…..we’ll be reading the book and he’ll say, “Now let’s do our schoolwork.”  He’s referring to the lapbook we’re making.  Is it odd for a 2 year old to prefer to do the paperwork over reading the book?  Hmmmm…the future holds interesting secrets!

I am thankful for...homeschooling.  I really do enjoy teaching and learning alongside my kids.  

From the kitchen...Chocolate Chip Layer Cake for teatime!  This will be a treat because we usually are a low maintenance tea time crowd.  We only have tea on Mondays.  It's not a daily thing.  Lydia usually makes SunTea and we get some Pepperidge Farm cookies to munch on.  Real fancy.  ;-)  I decided to surprise the kids and make a homemade cake for tea.  They’ll be surprised to see it when they come down this morning!

I am reading...Still reading St. Bartholomew’s Eve  with Darin.  Still trying to get through More Than Dates & Dead People.  I don’t think I read one page of it in the last week!  I'm also reading Elsie's Children with Lydia, Ishmael with Ben and The Trojan War with Jack.

I am be able to make it to TN for a visit with my parents this fall.  We had a surprise hot water pipe leak which took the money we were going to use for the trip, so now we’re praying for something…

I am creating...a new weekly school schedule for Ben.  We are still finishing up a bit from last year and this boy is trying to fly through everything as quickly as he can so he can start this year’s fun.  

I am hearing...Henry is playing with his train track. 

Around the house...trying to work out the logistics of where to set up a study space for Ben.  Our downstairs has an “open” floor plan which means we have very little wall space, so adding another table/desk thingy is definitely something to think about.

One of my favorite making school plans.  I love all the printing out, scheduling, reading, and gathering of supplies.  What a geek!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...I thought Sophia’s 9-month well-check was last week, but it’s actually this week.  Squeezing in a game night with the kids and I HAVE to finish cutting out the skirt I started with my friend, Rachel, a couple of weeks ago.   

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Playing Airsoft with the big boys.

To read other Simple Women's Daybook entries go HERE

Friday, September 12, 2008

Train Them in the Way They Should Go

I came across J.C. Ryle's The Duties of Parents on the web tonight....sitting here waiting for the storm to get here.  :-)  It is a sermon that he delivered in which he gives 17 Hints on Parenting.  Here is #1.  A good one.
Hint #1. If you want to train your children correctly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they want to go.

Remember children are born with a definite bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong.

The mother cannot tell what her tender little infant may grow up to be—tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish—he may be any of these things or not—it is all uncertain. But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. It is natural for us to do wrong. "Folly," says Solomon, "is bound up in the heart of a child" [Proverbs 22:15]. "A child left to himself disgraces his mother" [Proverbs 29:15]. Our hearts are like the earth on which we walk; leave it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.

If, then, you want to be wise in dealing with your child, then you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one who is weak and blind; but for pity's sake, do not allow him to pursue his own unruly tastes and inclinations. It must not be his tendencies and wishes that are favored. He does not yet know what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. You do not let him decide what he will eat, and what he will drink, and how he will be clothed. Be consistent, and deal with his mind in the same manner. Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he thinks is right.

If you cannot agree with this first principle of Christian training, then it is useless for you to listen any further. Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a child's mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.

I think this is a great reminder in today's world.  We offer our children a smorgasbord of activities, playdates and entertainment.  So often, this only feeds our kid's natural inclination to self-interest.  It becomes all about their need to find a way to satisfy their wants and interests rather than giving them the higher goal of serving God and others. 

It's a struggle!  Knowing where to draw the line in this area calls for a lot of prayer and trust in God.

Dallas Meets Tropical Storm Ike

Here we are, in landlocked Dallas, preparing for a TROPICAL STORM!  Hurricane Ike is coming our way and will retain enough of its strength to be a tropical storm by the time it hits North Texas.  I've never lived by the ocean (still don't!) and have never dealt with 50 mile an hour winds before.  Along with gathering batteries, candles, water and food, I have this absurd urge to clean my house from top to bottom.  I want it spotless.  Is that the way to greet a tropical storm?  ;-)

Say a prayer for all of us here in Texas who are not used to dealing with this kind of stuff!  Last night Lydia and I went to Target to stock up, and we noticed no one else seemed to be doing the same thing.  I chatted with a pal of mine last night, and she had no clue that we should even be preparing for anything!  All the news is so focused on Houston (God BLESS them!) that I'm afraid that by the time the storm is upon us, many people are going to be without things they need.  So please do say a prayer for us, and I will be back here after the storm!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogger Friend School - #101

 I am SO enjoying the Blogger Friend School assignments!  If the assignment below sounds like something you would like to do, check out the Blogger Friend School site and join in any time you wish!

Assignment: This would be a good week to tell about your worst struggles with a lifestyle of homeschooling.  Tell about something you’ve struggled with and how God’s mercies gave us the strength to get past it.  Also, share any curriculum/homeschool methods that have been a relief to you, i.e., a particular Teacher’s Manual or Homeschooling method that’s been easier for your family.  Talk about how you felt when the burden was lifted and Oh, What a Relief it is!

It didn’t take long for me to know what my worst struggle in homeschooling has been.  It’s ME.  ;-)  What’s the quote……motherhood makes us holy?  Something like that.  It’s easier if we don’t fight the whole way down the road!  I have had to drop so much baggage along the way, and still have a long way to go.  What’s so frustrating is that most of the issues I’ve had are petty when compared to getting to be at home with my kids all day, every day.

Like a clean house.  With six of us at home every day, it just can’t happen.  And I want the kids to automatically know how to dust, vacuum, or load the dishwasher.  Taking the time to show them has been something I have had to make myself do because my first instinct is to say, “you go load the dishwasher, I’m going to go fold the laundry.” When there is so much that could get done in a single day, it’s hard for me to take the time to slow down and work alongside my kids as I should.  Some days I am very successful in this area, some days….not so much.

My biggest struggle as a teacher was finding my own teaching style.  I know everyone is hip to the issue of learning styles for our children, but I think that it’s unfortunate that we overlook “teaching styles.”  When we first started homeschooling, I was sucked in by the romantic sound of the laid-back-follow-your-child’s-interests thing.  I tried and tried, but kept failing because I learned that I am the kind of gal who needs a plan.  I need something written down for me that I can follow, or I have the tendency to flake and never finish what we start because in my own planning, I would come up with too many resources and had a hard time weeding things out that we could have lived without.  So I found a curriculum with a plan, and because I have the daily schedule, I feel comfortable branching out and following a trail that the kids want to further explore, knowing that I can pick back up where we left off when we’re done.  I heard Jessica Hulcy once say that it takes three years to learn how to teach, and be a teacher, and I certainly lived that out.

The things that have been the biggest relief to me, as a person who needs a schedule are:

Sonlight.  Oh my goodness.  They’ve done all the scheduling!  We use Sonlight for Language Arts.  I take their schedule and add a few things to it, then hand it off to my kids for them to follow.  It’s been a great tool for teaching them responsibility and accountability.  

Yahoogroups!  Since I don’t use Sonlight for everything, I’ve found that there is usually a Yahoogroup for most other curricula.  I’ve joined many of them, and there has always been someone more on-the-ball than me who has already made a schedule to go along with the book and have uploaded it to the Files section of the Yahoogroup site.  What a blessing. I’m excited because right now I am making a schedule for my son’s Greek studies, and I hope I get to share it with someone else who might be able to use it!  I’ve also met some very kewl people through those groups that I have had the chance to meet in real life that I would have never known without the Yahoogroup.

Going to God in Prayer.  I don’t know how many times I have started off a day feeling as if I was just going to be spinning my wheels all day, getting nothing done.  I’ll look around the kitchen and see breakfast dishes stacked up, the living room a total disaster, a sick kid, a kid who isn’t in the mood for school or chores, and a fussy baby and wonder if I’ll even be able to make lunch.  When I started homeschooling, there were way too many days that I would let myself get overwhelmed, so I would call a movie day, or a park day.  Those are the days when I obviously really would get nothing done.  The big breakthrough for me came during our Bible Study time.  It was a frustrating day with bickering kids and while gearing up to sing, I had a conversation with God, and He set me straight.  Ever since then, I continually bring my day to Him.  I can’t make it without Him!  I wrote an article about it for our support group’s newsletter.  If you’re interested, you can read it HERE.  Here’s an excerpt. 

"We were getting ready for our morning Bible study.  I sat on the couch with my Bible and hymn book in my lap, rubbing my forehead with my first three fingers in total despair and frustration, until I thought I was going to wear a permanent red mark there.  I was shedding a few tears and silently praying, “God, I see the vision You’ve given Darin and me for our kids, but would it really hurt to call it a Movie Day?  They can space out to movies, and I can get away from their arguing with each other and me.  Sounds fair, ya?”  No.

“God, I can see the vision You’ve given Darin and me for our kids, but surely it wouldn’t hurt if I just called a timeout and spent some time building myself up for a change, rather than being bombarded with complaining and disobedience.  It would help me to be able to deal calmly with them later, ya?”  No.

“God, I can see the vision You’ve given Darin and me for our kids, but I am worn out!  I don’t think I can go on, YA?”  No.  You can.  You have to.  Do you see the vision I have given you?

“Okay.  Please help me!”  Ya."

Through it all, God is my mainstay.  I begged Him at one point for a mentor.  I felt alone and as if I had no clue, and would never get one.  But as I was praying this prayer, he drew me to Psalm 32:8:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
         I will guide you with My eye.
Sends shivers down my spine every time I remember this answer to my prayer.  He is so good, and Oh, What a Relief HE is to Me!  ;-)

I look at this picture and wonder how I could ever lose the vision that God has supplied.  What a precious group He has given me!


Monday, September 8, 2008

Exercise Challenge

Moms of Many Exercise Challenge

Well, I'm still working away when I can.  Is anyone else still with me?  You know, I go to other ladies' blogs, and I see so many Mr. Linky's just overFLOWING with participants.  It's the exercise thing, isn't it?;-)  I know.  I don't want to exercise either.  Especially when I'm seeing no results.  I just don't have an hour a day to give in order to see the results I would like, but I still think it's important to be at least moving.  Is anyone else still with me? 

Buehler.  Buehler.


The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my Window...
a completed fence!  Our neighbors have been so patient with us over our fence. It took just about all summer for us to get it up because of Darin’s work schedule, and our permit issues with the town.  Darin and I kept hoping that our dog would take the opportunity that no fence afforded to run away, but I guess she loves us  too much, cause she resisted temptation for the most part, and stayed in the backyard, God bless her.

I am thinking...that my desk is driving me crazy.  I’ve got my new sewing project here, a ream of cardstock, misc. paperwork that needs to be filed, Ben’s Greek books that I still need to make a schedule for, receipts, CDs, a box of file folders that I bought to make lapbooks with Henry…….

From the learning rooms...things are going well!  We’re still working on last year’s Language Arts, but we’re just about done.  Jack is finally figuring out that it does him no good to take one hour to memorize one small scripture verse, or to do one worksheet for Math.  Lydia is still thrilled with her Teaching Textbooks.  Ben is about to begin Pre-Algebra.  He has one lesson left in the Teaching Textbooks Math 7.

I am thankful for...Football season!  I grew up in a football home.  I wasn’t an overly active participant in all the fun, but the sound of the game on the t.v. on a Sunday afternoon became one of those “comfort” sounds.   

From the kitchen...I’m trying to slow things down in the kitchen lately.  There’s so much going on around here during the day that I don’t always have time for anything elaborate.  I’m going to do easy stuff this week like tacos, spaghetti….

I am reading...still working on More Than Dates and Dead People.  I think I only read two or three pages of it this past week.

Darin and I are still reading St. Bartholomew’s Eve by G.A. Henty.  This was one of the kid’s favorite history read alouds last year, so I wanted Darin to hear it.  He’s slowwwwly warming up to it.  There’s a lot of set-up at the beginning.

I am get my desk cleaned off this week.  That would include making a schedule for Ben’s Greek studies.  Those books will stay here until I do.

I am creating...plans….seems my brain never stop, but my body does.  ;-)  I make more plans than I could ever accomplish in 24 hours.

I am hearing...Sophia playing with her sippy cup on the floor.  She's learning to drink from it, but loves to play with it more than anything at this point.  Jack is out in the backyard hitting something with a stick.

Around the house... Monday is coming in like a lion.  I’ve had a minor cold this weekend that left me tired out, so the normal chores I do on the weekends did not get done.  The important thing was that breakfast, lunch and dinner were all served, mostly thanks to Darin.  What a guy he is.

One of my favorite things... is going for a walk around the block with Darin after the kids have gone to bed.  Our dog, Joy, walks along with us.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... Ben has an orthodontist appointment, Sophia has her 9-month well-check, I’m hoping to meet a pal at Starbucks for a long overdue chat about life, and Darin and I are going to a 40th birthday party.  Should be fun.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

At the Dallas World Aquarium

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hands-On Science

We just started using Apologia's Elementary Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day.  One of the activities is to make an ocean box.  You line a box with blue paper, and as you study a sea creature, you make it out of clay or whatever you want, and then add it to your box in the position it would go in the sea.  That would be in the Sunlit Zone, the Twilight Zone or the Midnight Zone.  I'm using this with three kids and the thought of three boxes floating around our house just totally irritated me.  I hate clutter, and yes, I would have considered those boxes clutter, rather than a teaching tool.  That's me....big clutter freak!  I'm sure I've mentioned on this blog before that I LOVE to throw things away.  ;-)

Anyway.....We actually only have Ben with us for this study for a short time.  Soon he will be off on his own, doing his own science studies.  Kinda sad for me.  He's 13 and in 8th grade now.  I figured it's time to cut the apron strings and send him off on his own history and science studies.  It's been a wonderful time schooling the oldest three together in history and science.  It's hard to believe that they're all growing up....

Back to the idea was to line our hallway wall with blue paper and let all three add their animals to that.  When I mentioned what I was going to do, Ben immediately wanted to take over the project.  I was good with that and I'm so glad he did it!  I would have just put blue paper up on the wall and been done with it, but he went a lot farther and made an island, the continental shelf, the sunlit zone, the continental slope, the twilight zone, the continental rise, the midnight zone AND of course, the abyssal plain.  It is so neat!  Here you can see his work.  He's so kewl.  ;-)  You can see two little angler fish down in the midnight zone.  And up top, courtesy of Finding Nemo, the E.A.C., dude.

I Spent 1.24 at CVS

Here are the things I got at CVS on mine and Darin's date night.  We really know how to party.  ;-)

3 Revlon Nail Polishes - 3.99 each
2 XTreme deodorant - 2.99 each
Tom's of Maine Toothpaste - 5.29
subtotal: 23.24

I used:
3 coupons for the nail polish.  $2 off ($6 total)
2 coupons for the deodorant.  $1 off ($2 total)
$4/$20 CVS coupon
$10 ECBs

My final total was 1.24.  How kewl is that?  And I earned 14.50 in ECBs!

Lately, I've had a lot of people tell me they don't need to do the CVS thing because their family is not as big as mine.  A family of 7 definitely has its challenges, but to me, getting stuff for free and nearly free seems like an across-the-board thing!  The whole reason for the CVS journey is not just for the adrenalin rush of getting stuff at super cheap-o prices.  Although really, that would probably be enough to satisfy most.  ;-) 

Seriously, the main goal is to outfit your home as cheaply as you can so you're not spending all your dough needlessly.  When we need body wash here in our house, we simply go to the cabinet in my bathroom and grab a bottle.  I don't need to stress over adding that expense to our budget that week.  I've already got it, and I got it for free, or nearly free.  There's nothing in that that keeps it exclusive to large families. 

Give it a try!  Go to Crystal's Money Saving Mom blog and read CVS 101 and get started ASAP!  :-)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blogger Friend School

Blogger Friend School is in session!  The ladies there are leaving it open this year, so you can join-in at any time!  Here is the first assignment:

Assignment: Take time this week to write about you and your feelings of trials and triumphs with homeschooling.  Touch on when you first heard about the concept of home schooling and whether you tip-toed into the idea or just jumped in and never looked back.  Share your schooling as a child and how you compare it to what your goals are for your children.

I love homeschooling.  I have from the first minute I understood that it existed, which was when I was 28!  Honestly, I had never, EVER heard of homeschooling until 1996.  I was working part-time at a bookstore after our first son was born.  Being a new Mom, during my breaks, I would wander over to the “Parenting” section of the store and browse.  There was a tiny little section of about five books on Homeschooling.  The first book I read on it was the Colfax’s Homeschooling for Excellence.  That was it for me.  From then on, we were going to homeschool.  My Husband gave me the ol’, “I went to public school and I turned out all right!”  Then he thought about it and remembered a few more details of his life as a public school kid, and reconsidered.  ;-)

Looking back on my own time in public school, I am just sad.  Things weren’t always easy in my own home life, and I spent all my time in school trying to work through all of that.  And the working-through was uncomfortable.  Silly, but intense fighting with my friends, poor decisions, poor grades.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was a pretty good gal, had lots of good friends, was considered “popular,” but it was a struggle.  It would have been nice to have a little more adult guidance.  I did get that later on in high school when I went to a boarding school.  That probably saved me in a lot of ways. 

Anyway….we are beginning our 9th year of homeschooling, and I hate to say this because, well, you know, it’s the “saying it out loud” thing…..but I’ve never felt burned out and ready to give it up.  My regular prayer to God is to give me His vision for me as a wife, parent and homeschooling Mom.  And I pray that A LOT.  After all, I am the Mom of five hard-heads.  God is so good and has held me steadily in His hand through all the frustrating moments, hours and days, and I never want my life to be different.  God made me for this! 

My goals for my children have changed over time.  At first I didn’t really have any goals.  Like a true control freak, I only wanted to be the one to have a say in what my kids studied.  I still like that control, but now my goal is just to raise them to be servants of Christ.  That’s really hard because that means I can’t really put my faith in a curriculum to do that for me.  I have to be the example every day.  Ugh.  I constantly fail, and a lot of times I don’t WANT to do what I need to do to be an example.  So many people say they could never homeschool, but I believe it’s because they don’t want to enough.  That’s the way I feel about being that example sometimes….that I don’t want to enough.  I think of this verse often to encourage me: Ezra 8:22 “…the hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek Him.”  When I remember that, I know that I can continue.  J

Here’s our new table for our littles.  One of our new purchases this fall for school, and quickly labeled “Kid’s Coloring Table” by my older ones.




Monday, September 1, 2008

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...
Outside my Window...
it’s a nice day outside!  Darin and the boys are going to get to work on the fence today.  Darin thinks it will go pretty fast.  There are no gates on this side of the house, so there’s nothing special to worry about.  In two days we will be having some rain, thanks to Hurricane Gustav!

I am thinking...and wondering if we can actually do all that we have planned for today.  I’m excited about the day just because Darin is home.  I love having him here with us.  He brings a great sense of humor to everything he approaches and that always helps to soften my edges.   

From the learning schooling today!  Lydia got her Teaching Textbooks last week and has been doing math at odd times since then.  She’s so excited about having it and I’m letting her go!  Who am I to stop her from doing math?  ;-)

This week I will work on making lesson plans for Ben’s Greek studies.  Also received those books in the mail last week, but know that we will all flounder with it if I don’t make a plan.

I am thankful new grand-niece!  I am now a Great Aunt four times over.  Two boys and two girls.  Aren’t I too young to be a Great Aunt????  ;-)

From the kitchen...I’ve got some yummy stuff planned for this week, and am most excited about the Butternut Squash Soup that I’m gonna make.

I am reading...added More Than Dates & Dead People to my stack this past week. I’ve only read the first 2 or 3 chapters, but it seems more like a book trying to convince me that history is fascinating, which I already knew.  ;-)  I’ll keep reading. I’m sure there’ll be more.

I am hoping...and praying for a chore breakthrough around here.  We have been trying to get the kids to the point where we don’t have to lead them by the nose to every chore.  Ben has it down, but the other two that do chores get distracted easily.  I know this is not something that can be done overnight.  It takes a lot of training!   

I am creating...the beginnings of my new skirt today!  My pal, Rachel, is coming over this afternoon to help me get started.  So excited!!!!!

I am hearing...the boys follow Darin around the house, sharing in his work.  All three of them.  I love, love, love that!  
We have some friends and the husband has quit his corporate job to go a new direction.  He wants to do something where he can be more available for his boys as they grow up.  Who knows where this will lead him, but he is searching God for direction.  I pray that God would be glorified through his brave decision.  
I read on the No Greater Joy website a few years ago about this family who basically lived in a bus.  They were not Christians, but the parents spent all their time with their children and had won the hearts of the children because of the investment of TIME they made in their lives.  When they did become Christians, the children followed their lead without hesitation.  Makes me wonder where the closest bus in the woods is….

Around the house... it’s busy today.  Jack just sat down to practice his piano, Darin and Henry are looking for their shoes so they can head out to Home Depot to buy fence stuff.  I think Ben is going, too.  The girls are quiet.  Lydia is cleaning her room, using this list from Growing in Grace magazine as her guide.  Sophia is asleep.

One of my favorite things... is all of us working and cooperating together.  I love it when our family is working as a unit and having fun doing it.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... getting back into the swing of school. We also had last Friday off because Darin took that day off.  We went to the Dallas World Aquarium.  A birthday present for the kids from my mother-in-law.  It was great.  The kids loved it!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

To visit other Simple Women and their Daybook entries, go HERE.

Exercise Challenge

Moms of Many Exercise Challenge

It's been a weird last week for me.  I didn't get in much exercise.  I've been extra tired.....I thought I might have been pregnant, but I took a test and it was negative.  In the past, I have done a little reading about Virgin Coconut Oil and remembered that it is supposed to help with energy levels and weight loss.  I went back and read all that again, and decided to go for using the oil as a supplement to see what would happen.  Some people take it straight up and I tried that, and yuck!  I gagged.  ;-)  So I mix mine in a cup of hot chocolate and drink it down in ladylike sips. The crazy thing is that yesterday was probably the worst day for me.  I felt so worn down and tired and had a headache. But after I had tried the oil straight up I noticed about 30 minutes later that I was starting to feel better!  I had more in my hot chocolate later and today I feel SO MUCH better.  So I'm looking forward to getting back into the exercise groove this week.  Don't get me wrong....I'm still not 100% because of the oil, but I do feel a lot better. 

I hope you all are having a wonderful Labor Day!  We are doing just that around here - laboring.  ;-)  Lots to do!

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